The health of your hair depends on the health of your scalp. Moisturized, healthy follicles produce shiny, strong strands of hair. Although your hair's thickness has more to do with genetics than diet, you can stimulate growth of healthy new hair with vitamins that contribute to scalp health. These glossy new strands will look thicker and healthier.
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According to author Lisa Akbari in “Every Woman’s Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age,” silica does two things: It strengthens the hair you have and helps keep it from falling out. Akbari suggests taking 55 mg per day of silica or ingesting silica naturally in seafood, green veggies and rice.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, omega-3 fatty acids help keep your scalp and hair naturally moisturized with regular sebum production. A daily dose of 1 to 2 tbsp. of ground flaxseed keeps your scalp moisturized with plant-based omega-3s. To get your omega-3s from fish, the American Heart Association recommends 7 cooked ounces of oily fish per week, or less than 3 g of an omega-3 dietary supplement.
B Vitamin Complex
Niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, helps promote a healthy scalp, according to Akbari. Vitamins B-5, B-6 and B-12 all help prevent hair loss; individually, vitamin B-5 can help prevent graying while vitamin B-6 helps give hair melanin, its source of color. In terms of ingesting B vitamins, it’s crucial that you take a B-vitamin complex, according to Riquette Hofstein in “Grow Hair Fast: 7 Steps to a New Head of Hair in 90 Days.” Because of their chemical interdependence, you won’t see results from an individual B vitamin supplement.
L-Cysteine Plus Vitamin C
Your hair is made up of 8 percent L-cysteine, according to Hofstein. This amino acid fights toxins in the bloodstream and encourages hair growth, but in high doses it can wreak havoc on your system, producing kidney stones. Luckily, vitamin C counteracts any harmful effects of L-cysteine when taken in the right amount. Hofstein recommends a twice daily dosage of 500 mg of L-cysteine and 1,500 mg of vitamin C. Check the vitamin C supplement’s label to make sure it includes bioflavonoids, necessary for your body’s absorption of the vitamin.
According to Hofstein, vitamin E improves the circulation and oxygenation of your blood. When you apply these benefits to your scalp, it can stimulate hair growth. Vitamin E also contributes to the overall health of the hair shaft; a deficiency leaves individual strands brittle and dull. Hofstein recommends 400 to 800 IUs of natural vitamin E daily. However, according to the "Annals of Internal Medicine," most multivitamin supplements contain only 30 IUs of vitamin E. A 2005 study published in the journal found that too much vitamin E, 400 IUs per day for more than a year, increased the risk of death. Consult your doctor before taking more than a daily multivitamin’s supply of vitamin E.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Every Woman’s Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age; Lisa Akbari
- Good Housekeeping: Sarah's Tips for Healthy Hair
- Grow Hair Fast: 7 Steps to a New Head of Hair in 90 Days; Riquette Hofstein
- American Heart Association: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Annals of Internal Medicine: Vitamin E Supplements May Be Harmful
- The Vitamins & Nutrition Center: Vitamins for Your Hair